Do you want ideas and tips to promote healthy and sustainable eating in your family’s everyday life? We offer some ideas to make children’s breakfasts and snacks more healthy.
Recently, the Ministry of Consumer Affairs and the Gasol Foundation launched the #LoReconozco [I Admit it] campaign, which uses humour to promote healthy breakfasts and snacks at home. The initiative was born as a response to the problem of childhood overweight and obesity in Spain.
WHY IS SUCH A CAMPAIGN NEEDED?
According to a study by the Spanish Agency for Food Safety and Nutrition (AESAN), in Spain, 40.6% of children aged between 6 and 9 are overweight or obese. During pre-adolescence and adolescence, the figures follow the same line. In 2019, according to a report by the Gasol Foundation, 34.9% of young people aged between 8 and 16 were overweight or obese.
The main factors behind being overweight or obese are physical activity, diet, sleep and emotional well-being. The #LoReconozco campaign aims at promoting healthy breakfasts and snacks to change this trend. According to the same Gasol Foundation report, 31.7% of young people and children regularly eat industrial pastries.
#LoReconozco is an awareness-raising campaign aimed at families whose breakfast and snack eating habits are unhealthy or becoming unhealthy. The project emphasises that the first step is to recognise the need to improve in order to embark on a learning process.
The campaign conveyed ideas such as respecting children’s time needs and avoiding rushing and pressure, especially when introducing new foods. Encouraging children to participate in planning and deciding about meals can also be very positive. It also recommends never to use food as a reward or punishment.
SMALL CHANGES TO EATING BETTER
The Public Health Agency of Catalonia and the Catalan Department of Health have promoted several guides and documents along these lines, such as the guide and video “Small changes to eat better“.
This guide makes recommendations on how to make our diet healthier. It recommends eating more fruit and vegetables, legumes and nuts, and leading a physically and socially active life, among other things. It also promotes drinking more water, eating wholemeal foods, consuming virgin olive oil and seasonal and local foods. Finally, it suggests reducing the amount of sugar and salt we consume, red and processed meat and ultra-processed foods.
If you want to know more about this subject, we suggest you read “Healthy eating at school. Guide for families and schools” (in Spanish). The guide provides a wide range of ideas for menus, lunches, snacks, adaptations for intolerances, allergies or diets without animal protein and much more.
You can also take a look at the 10 basic principles of healthy eating in the school canteen (in Spanish) in this compilation by Fundesplai (Fundació Catalana de l’Esplai).
7 IDEAS FOR HEALTHY BREAKFASTS AND SNACKS
Here are some healthy breakfasts and snacks to get you started on making the change. We have based our suggestions on the guide “Improving children’s breakfasts and snacks” (in Spanish) from the Public Health Agency of Catalonia.
- Fresh fruit of the season
- Wholemeal bread sandwich filled with cheese, omelette, hummus, tapenade or other vegetable “patés”. We suggest you read “24 alternatives to cold meat sandwiches” to get inspired.
- Cornflakes, oats, muesli or puffed rice (no added sugars).
- Milk or natural yoghurt (no added sugars) with muesli or fresh fruit.
- Unsalted nuts (walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, etc.).
- Vegetables: tomatoes, carrot sticks, cucumbers, aubergine cream, etc.
- Milkshakes and smoothies with fresh fruits and nuts.
Other tips: avoid fruit juices and accompany breakfasts and snacks with water, always dress toast and sandwiches with olive oil, and above all, try to eliminate ultra-processed foods, added sugars and cold meats.
These are just a few tips to promote healthy habits in children and adolescents. Do you know more? Come to the Menja, Actua, Impacta exhibition and discover many more tricks and solutions to tackle unhealthy eating habits.